IHG swoops in with second Shanghai Regent

InterContinental Hotels Group (iHG) has signed with Shanghai Seagull Holding Group Co Ltd to jointly open the second luxury Regent Hotels & Resorts site in the major Chinese city.

The existing Seagull Hotel on the site, on the banks of the Huangpu River, will be renovated to enable Regent Shanghai on The Bund to open in Q2 2023.

Historical value

The property was formerly known as the Shanghai International Seamen’s Club. Later, the Seagull Hotel was built on the original site in 1984. Therefore the project partners intend that the combination of the Regent brand and the Seagull Hotel will continue the hospitality of the original property, while inheriting the classic historical and artistic value.

The revamped site will have more than 130 rooms, which is close to the number in the original hotel. As the second Regent Hotel to open in Shanghai, the signing of The Regent Shanghai on The Bund combines the classic Seagull hotel heritage with Regent’s experience in providing luxury accommodation.

Shanghai design

With the theme of ‘a world of flowers, widespread ocean legends’, the hotel’s design will aim to reproduce the classic Shanghai-style culture. The hotel will be intended to improve upon the original facilities and standards of use to meet more functional needs, and make full use of the riverside landscape to create performance halls and rooms with a view to open up more public space.

After the reconstruction, The Regent Shanghai on The Bund will become another landmark building on the North Bund. With a new look, it should be integrated into the landscape on both sides of the Huangpu River, exhibiting a harbourside style.

Luxury consolidation

Jolyon Bulley, CEO of IHG Greater China and group transformation lead, luxury and lifestyle, said: “Greater China is the second largest market for IHG globally and the fastest growing. Having expanded broadly across the mainland market for nearly 40 years, China has always held a special place in our hearts. In the context of the global epidemic, we are well aware of the practical importance that ‘the worthiness of any plan lies in its implementation’. The signing of the Regent Shanghai on The Bund not only further consolidates the group’s presence in the luxury and lifestyle market segment, but also demonstrates our commitment to expanding in China and our firm confidence in the future development of Shanghai.”

Daniel Aylmer, MD of IHG Greater China, said: “This year marks the 38th year that IHG has continued to be deeply invested across the mainland market, which by coincidence is the same age as the original Seagull Hotel, having witnessed the rising prosperity and transformation of Shanghai. IHG has also witnessed the changes and development of China’s cultural tourism and hotel industries. We are very happy to rebuild the hotel into the Regent Shanghai on The Bund, whose stunning visuals continue to display classical designs of the past, and bring guests a unique luxury and travel experience.”

New era

Sun Jian, chief development officer of IHG Greater China, pointed out: “As a global financial centre, transportation and trading hub, Shanghai’s strategic significance for localised development is self-evident. The North Bund, with its unique cultural resources and profound historical heritage has grown into a new world-class benchmark of regional urbanisation.

“At present, 12 of the 17 brands under IHG have entered China and as we face a new era and journey, the group hopes to forge sincere cooperation with more owners and continue to expand the depth and breadth of our brand network in China with our extensive brand matrix. In doing so, we will meet the travel and accommodation needs of different market segments and consumers with our diversified product portfolio, and jointly assist the Chinese hotel industry to an even higher level of quality.”

Growth engine

As of the third quarter of 2022, IHG has 618 opened hotels in China, with a further 474 hotels in the pipeline, bringing the total number to more than 1,000 across more than 200 cities. Greater China has become an important growth engine for the group and in the future, IHG stated it will continue to proactively respond to the national strategic development priorities, expand its presence across the region, build three-dimensional and diversified consumption scenarios, and assist with the in-depth development of the tourism and leisure market.

The signing of the latest Regent is an important milestone for the group in implementing its strategy of localisation and expanding the brand portfolio. Within Shanghai itself, IHG has at least nine other high end hotels on the current slate, including Even Hotel Shanghai Hongqiao Business Area, adding 229 keys in Q4 2023; the 182-room Indigo Hotel Shanghai Dishui Lake arriving in Q3 2024; and the uber-luxury Six Senses Shanghai Jingan with 150 rooms due in 2026.